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Velotric T1 e

Jun 09, 2023Jun 09, 2023

Kevin Purdy - Aug 4, 2023 1:32 pm UTC

I can't get over how good the T1 looks. It's a beautiful bike, especially in the two-tone frosted blue color of my test ride. It's so smoothly contoured, devoid of wires and generally eye-catching that, for once, I'm more afraid of it getting stolen for its looks than for the powerful motor and battery that are well-hidden inside it. So it's a good thing the Thunder 1 comes with a number of anti-theft features installed.

Over weeks of testing, the $1,800 T1 (initially the "Thunder 1" at launch, since renamed by Velotric) has been a fun ride. The bike has a responsive torque-sensing motor and a wide range of power options paired with actual gears. The app is about as reliable as any other Bluetooth-based single-device app (i.e., not wholly), but it provides useful data, configuration, and anti-theft options. Most of the cables, settings, and other obvious parts of an e-bike can't be seen. You just ride and notch the assist up or down when you want.

You can't entirely forget the T1 is an e-bike, as every time you look down while riding, you see a thumbprint sensor. But riding it around on a steady power level and shifting gears—with it looking for all the world like a standard flat-bar bike—you can get most of the benefits of electric assist with very few of its signifiers. It quietly flattens hills and shortens miles.

The T1 ships similarly to other e-bikes you can order online and have delivered to your door. Most people who have done some hex wrench projects should be able to get the bike in working order using Velotric's instructions and the provided tools. My kit ended up one bolt short for the kickstand, so I had to fish out a hex-head bolt that fit. Other than that, I had no real problems. Getting the bike tuned up and ready to ride, however, requires either some familiarity with bike repair or a brief stop at your local bike shop.

After finishing my initial T1 assembly, my fork was a bit too tight, the handlebar was off-center from the wheel, the gears needed indexing, and the front disc brake was lightly but audibly rubbing. I was able to fix all these things with a bit of monkeying, but if you're not familiar with those jobs (or don't want to learn them on YouTube), you'll need some help.

This is a common issue with boxed bikes that ship directly. I stopped into my local bike shop to get the mechanics' opinions. They told me that every e-bike they sell from the store—and many of those customers thought they could assemble themselves—requires a half-dozen tweaks after unboxing. (They also lamented, unprompted, the custom headsets on many e-bikes that prevent any real resizing option for someone who's just a bit too tall).